Robert Warf

Father collects sea glass. He walks the beach every morning hunting for glass for my mother to use. She uses them in necklaces. In decorations. In things meant to be seen.

          When father finds red, orange, teal, or black glass, mother gets excited and makes brownies. She says, “These will fetch a lot.” 

          “A lot,” father says. “Enough for another sausage maker,” father says.

          Father’s second passion is sausage making, which he does with three different grinders and one stuffer. He funds this second passion with his first passion. With glass collecting.

          When you are looking for glass you need to pay attention to shape, color, thickness, and clarity. Shape matters if you make jewelry out of sea glass. If you don’t it doesn’t matter. This matters only to mother. Color is important, but only rare colors. Green glass is boring glass and boring glass doesn’t pay. You want reds, or oranges, or teals, or blacks, which is really just boring green glass that stayed in the sea long enough to get less boring. This matters to my parents. Money matters. Thickness is the wrinkles of glass. They tell how old it is. You want thick glass. Thickness cannot be made, it must be worn by time. Last is clarity. If your glass is thick, chances are you can’t see through it. You want your glass to be murky. Milky. You don’t want to see through it. If you’re good with glass how father is good with glass then you can make your own mini ocean and throw clear thick glass in it and make it not clear. Father makes his own mini ocean in the shelled bed of an old F350 that he puts sand and saltwater in. Then he puts his blower in and blows sand over glass how he wishes the ocean had.

          I would not recommend this because it’s ridiculous. Father wouldn’t recommend this because of the rust, but he assures me it works. That it will look like it was churned over by the sea.

          Father with his face pressed against the shell and his hand on the blower, smiles and says, “You see it? You see how they’re changing?”

          The water bubbles and hisses as the blower sputters, roars, sputters again. Father kills it and opens the top of the shell. He feels around inside with his hand and finds each piece, removing it and holding it to the light.

          “Almost there,” father says.

          He puts it back in and spends enough time with his ocean that when he inspects the glass, it is with a flashlight I can see from my room. Mother, in another, by herself, alone, bringing him dinner while he works. She walks up and down the steps with a headlamp. Father’s blower blowing in roars heard all night, but this does not matter to father.

          What matters to father is not anyone else. What matters is not the glass.

          What matters is that he has to shape it. He has to find it, create it, control it. He has to be the one in control. This is what my father loves.

          What I love is different. I have to escape. Find other ways to unsee all that I’ve seen and see all I dream I could. My love is visuals. The seeing of it. Acid.

          When you are into the visuals, what matters is the quality, the testing of the quality, and what matters is the visuals.

          Quality is not subjective. Quality for some comes from the buyer. The testing. The experience. All three for me. Quality is controlled through knowing your vendor. Your seller, your dealer. When Silk Road 1 was around I used this and a rotation of vendors when my current one shut down. The process simplistic, complex. Mailed in a letter, behind stamps. I did the same with SR 2. Stamps, more stamps. Later, when I lived with my acid dealer roommate and his girlfriend, I took from his sheets, but there are only so many yeses before noes, so I went back to vendors. AlphaBay. Atlantis. Vice City Markets. At the time, messaging through Wickr. Orders of tracing paper. Books. Page 32. DVD cases. Postcard packets. I lived at our mailbox. Then a

          P.O. box. The point of this, of what I’m saying, is quality comes from who you get it from. Who they are. My dealer roommate is a good acid dealer. He is good because he tests his acid. He uses both Erlich and Hoffmann reagents. Erlich is purple or pink. Hoffmann is blue. Anything not is not. Erlich is best. It is what he uses and what I use. It’s what you should use if you want to know what you are seeing.

          What you are seeing is essential. Where you are when you’re seeing more so. Who you’re with when you’re seeing more than more so. When I lived with my dealer roommate and his girlfriend, we cleaned an entire room out. We blacked the windows. Lined the walls with neon LED strips. Put every glass bottle we could drink over the strips. Now here, here I should say something I learned from my father, what matters about these bottles are two things: shape and color. You don’t want wine bottles, you want unique bottles. Bottles like those of Crystal Head or Hibachi 17. If the bottle’s shape isn’t great than the color is most important. You want oranges, blues, reds, or greens. These come alive with light and look the best with strips behind them. Now back to what we did, you see after you have these, we put two mattresses in the center. A flatscreen on the wall. Four speakers in four corners. What you do then is you drop 400s, maybe 600s. You drop this and eat breakfast. Then when it’s coming up you go into the room. Take off your clothes. Turn on the strips. The auroras across the room. And when it hits, you blast guitar solos. You blast solos like Frusciante’s “Empyrean.” Like Iommi’s “Heaven and Hell” solo. You blast solos to take you to see what you cannot. To see colors dripping through glass bottles. Through your mind. Through your brain. Through and through. Through it you see who you are. Who you couldn’t be. My dealer roommate and his girlfriend say they see god and that this is a telescope to see the kind of god that people like this say should be.

          I saw my father enough at 400 micrograms.

          Enough without 400.

          What they saw was much different. Then again, they say you see different when you do 150. Then again at 700. They say this. My dealer roommate and his girlfriend. I’ve only done 150s, 400s, and 600s—which are really just two 300s. I can’t say what 700 is like, but I would say anything over 150 gets different quick. Gets difficult quick. But I can only say what I know and I know 600 was pretty fucking difficult.

          What I know is this.

          When me and my girlfriend do our date nights at my parents’ beach house, we like to trip. We get up at seven and make breakfast. Then we do one. While we wait for it, we watch comedies because she finds my paranoia as annoying as I find it. ‘Cause usually I bug out on the come up and when it first hits, I think a lot of awful things that I don’t want to think, then I mellow out and enjoy the visuals. The vibrations. She likes watching Planet Earth and when we do 400s she believes she can understand animals and translates what they are saying for me. I nod because I can only see the screen and not the animals. During this she will usually say she wants to fuck, and I will say, “It’s not working for me like that.” “My dick is not gonna work.”

          “It’d be too much,” I say. She’ll nod. Go to the bedroom. Do what I can’t. I’ll go to the fourth floor. Do what I can. Go to the ships watch and watch. Just mellow out and watch.

          When we’d been together for a while we started dropping later. Like six or seven late. Then we moved to eight or nine. We’d drive to the beach in the Bronco and park it below the dune and make a little bonfire. When it was dark and we could see, we’d take our clothes off and take the fish boards from the Bronco and wade out into it.

          Headlights. Two orbs staring out from the shore. We use them to line up. As our landmark. We sit out there and take it all in. Full moons are the best. When you’re at your peak you think you’re surfing mercury, and you think the thoughts you don’t want to think.

          Sometimes we think them all night while we ride. Sometimes the Bronco runs out of gas while we ride it out, and the lights go dark, but that’s fine because we can still see.

          I can.

          I see banging glass banging in the undertow. Banging through my mind. I see me and my girlfriend fucking under halogen lights how my dealer roommate and his girlfriend would fuck in the other room. I see us fuck like this, and when she rolls me over, and I look up, I see her head moving back, and above her head, against the roof of the F350, the shards of glass blowing, and banging, and softening, and darkening, and I see father’s fatherly hand take one, piece by piece. And she will put her face to mine, and I will not see father.

          I will not.

          I will see the halogens on the shore. The orbs tracing through the night. I will see her paddle next to me and take my hand. She will lean over. Hug me. Put herself against my back. She will tell me to ride one. “Do it,” she will say.

          And I will.

          And when I wipe out I will sit under the waves. Let the undertow tow. Pull me with it. Down to it. Down to where you can peer through the dark and see the moon gleaming through the waves like constellations of vibrating glass.

          When you see all of that how I see it, you don’t really want to see anything else.           

          That’s why I like it.

          Why I like doing it.

I like to go under the sea. To pretend like I am glass and watch the vibrations and hope father collects me when I wash ashore.

Robert Warf is from Portsmouth, Virginia and is a PhD candidate at Oklahoma State University. He has work in Post Road, X-R-A-Y, HAD, and Vestal.

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